About the Ghawth, Qutb, Abdal, Awtad, Akhyar

Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad

Who are Abdaal?

by “Muslim”

The Wahabi sect has once again shown its lack of understanding by denying many hadith on the existence of Abdal.

The Wahabis posted an article denying the authenticity of many hadith on this topic.

The Wahabi artcile can be read at this link

http://www.allaahuakbar.net/ahaadeeth/15.htm

Here is the reply to this artcile , compiled from different resources.

It is also surprising to note that the teacher and Shaykh of Allamah Ibn al Qayyim , Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah also testified to the existence of the Abdaal. Thus, he mentions in his infamous ‘Al Aqeedah al wastiyyah

لكن لما أخبر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أن أمته ستفترق على ثلاث وسبعين فرقة كلها في النار إلا واحدة وهي الجماعة وفي حديث عنه أنه قال : ( هم من كان على مثل ما أنا عليه اليوم وأصحابي ) صار المتمسكون بالإسلام المحض الخالص عن الشوب هم أهل السنة والجماعة وفيهم الصديقون والشهداء والصالحون ومنهم أعلام الهدى ومصابيح الدجى أولوا المناقب المأثورة والفضائل المذكورة وفيهم الأبدال وفيهم أئمة الدين الذين أجمع المسلمون على هدايتهم وهم الطائفة المنصورة الذين قال فيهم النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم : ( لا تزال طائفة من أمتي على الحق منصورة لا يضرهم من خالفهم ولا من خذلهم حتى تقوم الساعة ) فنسأل الله أن يجعلنا منهم وألا يزيغ قلوبنا بعد إذ هدانا وأن يهب لنا من لدنه رحمة إنه الوهاب والله أعلم «العقيدة الواسطية» (ج 1 / ص 32( و انظر «مجموع الفتاوى» (ج 3 / ص 159)

“However, since Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم has predicted that the Ummah will divide into seventy three groups; all of who will be in the fire except one group which is the ‘Jama’ah; (The Jama’ah is) as described in another hadith: “They remain on the like of that which I am on and my companions”, it becomes (known that) the true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity are the Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama`ah. Amongst them are the truthful saints (siddiqoon), the martyrs and the righteous ones. Also found amongst them are those men who are signs of guidance and hallmarks of illumination, of recorded integrity and virtues were mentioned. The Abdaals are amongst them. Also the Imams who (the general) Muslim populace are in full accord concerning their guidance of religion are to be found among them. These are the Victorious Group about whom the Prophet said: “A group within my Community manifestly continues to be in the truth. Neither those who oppose them nor those who abandon them can do them harm, from now on until the Day of Resurrection….”

(Al Aqeedah al waastiyyah 1/32. Also check Majmoah al fatawa 3/159)

In another place Hafidh Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned,

وأما أهل العلم فكانوا يقولون : هم ” الأبدال ” لأنهم أبدال الأنبياء وقائمون مقامهم حقيقة «مجموع الفتاوى » (ج 4 / ص 97)

((As for the people of knowledge, they used to say: (Scholars of hadith) are the Abdaals, because they are the Abdaal (substitutes) and representatives of the prophets…))

(Majmu`a Fatawa 4/97)

(P.S We do acknowledge that there are other opinions mentioned in his other works).

The vast majority of Scholars from the Ahl as sunnah hold the view that Abdaals do exist. In fact, Hafizh Ibn as-Salah has declared that there is consensus on this view. Hereunder follows the names of just a few illustrious Scholars who explicitly mentioned their views [Also refer to the introduction of Allamah Suyuti’s ‘Al Khabr ad daal’ (Dar al usool)]
1) Allamah Ibn Abi ad Dunya (he has mentioned many Ahadith in his book, ‘Al Awliya’)
2) Allamah Abu az Zinaad (ibid 27)
3) Allamah Abdullah an Nabbaji (ibid 28)
4) Allamah Abu Muhammad Al Khallaal (he has dedicated an entire chapter to this subject in his ‘Karaamaat al Awliya’)
5) Allamah Ibn Asaakir (he has dedicated two chapters to this subject in his magnificent ‘Taarikh ad Dimashq’.)
6) Allamah Ibn Salah (as could be found in his Fatawa (1/184)
7) Allamah Zarkashi (he discussed this subject in his ‘At Tadhkirah fil Ahadith al mushtahirah (1/144)
8) Allamah Taqi ad deen Al Hisni (he has refuted the view of Ibn Taymiyyah in his ‘Daf shubahi man shabbaha wa tamarradah’(1/123)
9) `Allamah Sakhawi (in Maqaasid al hasanah, he mentioned that he has written an entire treatise on this subject entitled ‘Nadhm al la’ali fi hadith al Abdaal’)
10) `Allamah Suyuti (he has written on this in many of his works like Al Jami al Kabeer, Al Jami as sagheer, Al La’ali al masnoo’ah, Ad durar al muntathirah and he has written an entire work entitled ‘Al Khabr ad daal’)
11) Allamah Al Qastallani (he has dedicated an entire chapter in his ‘Al Mawaahib al laduniyah)
12) Allamah Ali bin Muhammad Al Kinani (he has discussed the issue of Abdaals in his ‘ Tanzeeh as Shariah al marfoo’ah)
13) Allamah Ibn Hajar Al Haytami (in his Fatawa al hadithiyyah)
14) Mullah Ali Al Qari (he has discussed this subject in much detail in his famous commentary, ‘Mirqaat al mafaatih’.)
15) Allamah Murtadha Az Zubaidi (in his ‘Ithaaf As Saada al muttaqeen)
16) Allamah Ibn Abideen Al Hanafy (he has written an entire treatise on this subject entitled ‘Ijaabah al ghauth’)
17) Allamah Muhammad bin Jafar Al Kattani (as discussed in his ‘Nazm al mutanathir’)
18) Allamah Nuh bin Mustafah Al Hanafy (who wrote ‘Al Qawl ad daal ala hayaat al Khidhr wa wujood al Abdaal)

Furthermore, when discussing a narrator, Muhaddithoon used to often describe some narrators as Abdaals. This is sufficient proof that many Scholars of Hadith also acknowledged the existence of Abdaals. Below are just a few examples.

1) In his ‘Al Ilal’ (6/29), Imam Ad Daar Qutni (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) quoted Imam Ahmad (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) as saying: “If there is any Abdaal in Baghdaad, it is Abu Ishaaq Ebrahim bin Hani.” At another place (6/63) it is mentioned that An Nadhr bin Katheer is said to be from the Abdaal.
2) Some Muhaddithoon considered Imaam Shaafi’ee (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him )to be an Abdaal (Al-Maqasid al Hasanah (pg.28) and Taarikh ad Dimashq)
3) Imam Bukhari (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) has mentioned in his At Tarikh al Kabeer (7/127) that people had no doubt that Farwa bin Mujalid was an Abdaal.
4) In the Sunan of Abu Dawood it is mentioned that Abu Jafar bin Easa (r.a) considered Ambasa bin Abdul Wahid Al Qurahi to be an Abdaal (Hadith no. 2992).
5) In the Sunan of Ibn Majah it is mentioned that Yahyah bin Uthmaan bin Saeed was considered to be from the Abdaal (Hadith no. 3348).
6) In ‘As sunnah’ (2/596) of Ibn Abi Asim it is mentioned that Ziyaad Abu Umar was said to be from the Abdaals.
7) Ibn Hibbaan (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) has mentioned in his ‘At thiqaat’ (5/549) that Yusuf Jawwal An Nuqad was from the Abdaals. In another place of the same book (8/64) it is mentioned that Imam Auzaa’i stated that Musa bin A’yun Al Jazari was from the Abdaals.
8) Ibn Abi Ad Dunya (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) mentions in his ‘Al Awliyah’ (pg 35) that Saeed bin Sadaqah Abu Muhalhil was said to be from the Abdaals. In his book ‘Sifah an nar’ (pg 242) he mentioned that Al Fadhl bin Abbaas Al Kindi was from the Abdaal. In his book ‘Dham ad dunya’ (pg 31) there is mention that people considered Al Harith bin Muslim Ar Razi to be an Abdaal.
9) In Musnad Ad Daarimy it is mentioned that Zahra bin Mabad was an Abdaal (Hadith no. 3429).
10) Khateeb Baghdadi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) has quoted in his ‘Mudhi awhaam al jam wat tafreeq’ (2/348) that people used to say that Fahr bin Ziyaad Al Barqi was an Abdaal.
11) In ‘Al Ma’rifah wat tareekh’ (1/229) of `Allamah Fasawi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) it is stated that the people of Makkah used to say, “Wuhaib is from the Abdaals”.
12) In Akhbaar Makkah of Allamah Fakihi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) it is mentioned that Ibrahim bin Easa Al Yashkuri was an Abdaal (Hadith no. 654) It is also mentioned that Yahyah bin Sa`eed bin Katheer is from the Abdaals (Hadith no. 877).
13) In four places in Musnad Ahmad it is mentioned that Musa bin Khalaf was from the Abdaals (Hadith no. 15671, 17170,17800,26911) The same is mentioned of him in ‘Ithaaf al khairah al mahara’.
14) In ‘Hilya al Awliya’ it is mentioned that the following were Abdaals. A) Muhammad bin Adam Al Misseesiy (2/144). B) Saeed bin Sadaqah Al Kaysani (4/250). C) Yahya al Jalla (9/191). D) Ali bin Abdul Hameed (10/366).
15) In Shu`ab al Iman of Imam Bayaqi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) it is mentioned that Harith bin Muslim Ar Razi was considered to be from the Abdaals (Hadith no. 10585).
16) In ‘At tamheed’ of `Allamah Ibn `Abdul Barr (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) there are numerous places where certain narrators were said to be Abdaals. Amongst others, the following were said to be from the Abdaals. A) Ma’dy bin Sulayman Al Hannat (1/368). B) Ibnul Mubarak said that if there is any Abdaal in Khuraasaan, it is Ma’daan (7/142). C) Khalaf said “Insha Allah, Abdul Hameed bin Ahmad bin Easa Al Warraaq is a Abdaal (24/159).
17) Nawawi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) in Bustan al-`arifin (pg 31) mentions that Hammad bin Salimah was considered as an Abdaal.
18) `Allamah `Ayni (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) mentions in his magnificent commentary of Al Bukhari, Umdah al Qari that Hammad bin Salimah bin Dinar was considered as an Abdaal. (Baab ma yaqool inda al khala) In another place (commentary of hadith 1432) it is mentioned that Abu Tawbah Rabi bin Nafi was considered to be from the Abdaal. Under the commentary of hadith 5532, it is mentioned that Khattab was from the Abdaals.
19) In Allamah Ayni’s commentary of Abu Dawood it is stated that Yahyah bin Maeen and Abu Hatim considered the brother of Mugheirah to be from the Abdaals.
20) In Fath al bari (1/357), Hafidh Ibn Hajar (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) quoted a sanad of Musnad Abi Awwanah in which it is mentioned that Abu Ibrahim Az Zuhri was an Abdaal.
21) In `Allamah Zurqani’s commentary of Muwattah Imam Malik it is stated that Shaadhkooni said: “…Ma’di was considered to be from the Abdaal.” Also quoted in Mir’aat (3/412).
22) In Faid al Qadeer (2/538) it is mentioned that Ali bin Umar Al Harbi is from the Abdaals.

Similarly, Scholars of hadith also described some narrators as ‘Aqtaab’. Consider the following

1) Ibn al Atheer (may Allah Ta’ala be pleases with him) noted that Sufyan at Thawri was from the Aqtaab. (Jami al usool fi Ahadith ar Rasool 12/466)
2) Abu al Wafa Al Qurashi (may Allah be pleased with him) has also mentioned that Sufyan at Thawri was from the Aqtaab of Islam. (Tabaqaat al hanafiyyah 1/546)
3) Umar bin Ali Al Jazzairi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) wrote a kitab ‘Ibtisaam al uroos’ in which he termed Shaykh Ahmad bin Uroos as qutb al Aqtaab. (Al A’laam li az Zarqali 1/169).
4) Ibn Farhoon (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) has described Ali bin Muhammad bin Abdul Haq Az Zurwaili as a Qutb. (Ad Debaaj al mudhahab fi ma’rifati a’yaan Ulama al madhab 1/116).
5) Ibn al Mulaqqin (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) mentioned that Fudhail bin Ayaaz was from the Aqtaab. (Tabaqaat al Awliyah 1/44). At another place (1/64) he mentioned that Abu Sulayman Ad Daaraani Al Anasy was from the Awtaad and Aqtaab.

The above statements prove that the term ‘Abdaal’ and ‘Aqtaab’ were commonly known and used amongst the Muhaddithoon and other early scholars. (They are not something innovated, especially since Muhaddithoon – who were extremely precautious against innovations – mentioned them). Khateeb Al Baghdaadi (may Allah be pleased with him) has opined in his ‘Sharf Ashaab al Hadeeth’ (pg 100/101) that Abdaals are (mostly) found amongst the Scholars of hadith. The Shaykh of `Allamah Ibn al Qayyim, `Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah has also quoted in his Majmu`ah al fatawa (4/97) that the knowledgeable always considered Abdaals to be from the Ashaab al hadeeth.

As for the statement which you have quoted from Allamah Ibn al Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him), the exact wording of it is as follows

ومن ذلك أحاديث الأبدال والأقطاب والأغواث والنقباء والنجباء والأوتاد كلها باطلة على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم «المنار المنيف» (ج 1 / ص 136)

This statement is incorrect. There are numerous Ahadith which proves the existence of Abdaals. Allamah Munawi (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted that the master in hadith, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah be pleased with him) mentioned in one of his verdicts

وقال شيخه ابن حجر في فتاويه : الأبدال وردت في عدة أخبار منها ما يصح وما لا وأما القطب فورد في بعض الآثار «فيض القدير» (ج 3 / ص 220 دار الكتب العلمية)

((Abdaals are mentioned in many Ahadith, some are authentic whereas others are weak. Qutb is also mentioned in some Ahadith)) (Faid al Qadeer 3/220)

In fact, Imam Suyuti claimed that these Ahadith reached the status of tawaatur (A hadith which is narrated through so many different narrators in every era that it is not possible for so many people to concoct a lie) due to the numerous chains. (An Nukat al badee’aat, pg 280). In order to prove this, Imam Suyuti wrote an entire treatise entitled ‘Al Khabr ad daal ala wujood al Qutub wal Awtad wan Nujabah wal Abdaal.’

The following Hadith which is narrated in several books of hadith is authentic. It is interesting to note that Ibn Qayyim (r.a) himself mentioned that this hadith is suitable in the very same book which you have quoted from [i.e. Al Manaar al muneef no 331, pg 145]. He has also maintained silence on it in his footnotes of Abu Dawood which denotes on his acceptance of it. (Note- we have explained the chain of narrators in Arabic. This will be appreciated by Scholars and it will not be a means of confusion for the general layman)

قال أبو داود في سننه – (ج 4 / ص 175)

4288 – حدثنا محمد بن المثنى حدثنا معاذ بن هشام حدثنى أبى عن قتادة عن صالح أبى الخليل عن صاحب له عن أم سلمة زوج النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم- عن النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال « يكون اختلاف عند موت خليفة فيخرج رجل من أهل المدينة هاربا إلى مكة فيأتيه ناس من أهل مكة فيخرجونه وهو كاره فيبايعونه بين الركن والمقام ويبعث إليه بعث من الشام فيخسف بهم بالبيداء بين مكة والمدينة فإذا رأى الناس ذلك أتاه أبدال الشام وعصائب أهل العراق فيبايعونه بين الركن والمقام ثم ينشأ رجل من قريش أخواله كلب فيبعث إليهم بعثا فيظهرون عليهم وذلك بعث كلب والخيبة لمن لم يشهد غنيمة كلب فيقسم المال ويعمل فى الناس بسنة نبيهم -صلى الله عليه وسلم- ويلقى الإسلام بجرانه إلى الأرض فيلبث سبع سنين ثم يتوفى ويصلى عليه المسلمون ». قال أبو داود قال بعضهم عن هشام « تسع سنين ». وقال بعضهم « سبع سنين ». (أخرجه أبو داود بالطريق المذكور و قال بعده «حدثنا هارون بن عبد الله حدثنا عبد الصمد عن همام عن قتادة بهذا الحديث وقال « تسع سنين » ثم قال أبو داود «وقال غير معاذ عن هشام « تسع سنين » و أخرج هذا الحديث ايضا ابن أبى شيبة (7/460 رقم 37223) وأحمد (6/316 ، رقم 26731) ، و إسحاق بن راهويه في مسنده (ج 4 / ص 170) ،و ابن عساكر (1/280) ، وأبو يعلى (12/369 ، رقم 6940) ، أبو جعفر ابن البختري – (ج 1 / ص 280) ، و ابن حبان (15/158 رقم 6757) و أظهر أن صاحب صالح هو مجاهد و كذا قال أبو يعلى – (ج 12 / ص 369) بعد قوله عن صاحب له قال «وربما قال صالح عن مجاهد »و قال ابن أبي حاتم فقلت لأبي: «من صاحبه هذا ؟» قال : «عبد الله بن الحارث». ]علل الحديث(ج 2 / ص 411)[ و روا هذا الحديث الطبراني في «المعجم الكبير» (ج 23 / ص 390) و «المعجم الأوسط» (ج 2 / ص 35) من طريق معمر عن قتادة عن مجاهد عن أم سلمة عن النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم و قال في آخره «قال عبيد الله فحدثت به ليثا فقال حدثنيه مجاهد لم يرو هذا الحديث عن معمر إلا عبيد الله» و قال الهيثمي في «مجمع الزوائد » (ج 7 / ص 613) «رواه الطبراني في «الأوسط »ورجاله رجال الصحيح» و قال ابن القيم في «المنار المنيف» (ج 1 / ص 145)«والحديث حسن ومثله مما يجوز أن يقال فيه صحيح » و قال العظيم آبادي في «عون المعبود» (ج 11 / ص 255)« قال ابن خلدون خرج أبو داود عن أم سلمة من رواية صالح أبي الخليل عن صاحب له عن أم سلمة ثم رواه أبو داود من رواية أبي الخليل عن عبد الله بن الحارث عن أم سلمة فتبين بذلك المبهم في الإسناد الأول ورجاله رجال الصحيحين لا مطعن فيهم ولا مغمز وقد يقال إنه من رواية قتادة عن أبي الخليل وقتادة مدلس وقد عنعنه والمدلس لا يقبل من حديثه إلا ما صرح فيه بالسماع مع أن الحديث ليس فيه تصريح بذكر المهدي نعم ذكره أبو داود في أبوابه انتهى قلت – القائل العظيم آبادي- لا شك أن أبا داود يعلم تدليس قتادة بل هو أعرف بهذه القاعدة من ابن خلدون ومع ذلك سكت عنه ثم المنذري وابن القيم ولم يتكلموا على هذا الحديث فعلم أن عندهم علما بثبوت سماع قتادة من أبي الخليل لهذا الحديث والله أعلم»

Umm Salama (r.a) said: “Disagreement will take place at the death of a Caliph. A man from Madinah will come forth fleeing to Makkah. Some of the people of Makkah will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner of the Ka’bah and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Makkah and Madinah, and when the people see that, the Abdaal of Syria and the best people (`asaba) of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him…”
(Narrated by Abu Dawood, Ibn Abi Shaybah,Ahmad, Ishaq bin Rahooyah, Ibn Asaakir, Abu Ya’la, Ibn Al Bukhtari, Ibn Hibbaan and many others. Allamah Al Haythami said that the narrators are authentic. Allamah Ibn al Qayyim said, “The hadith is good and could also be said to be authentic.”)

Moreover, we found the following two narrations which, although some Scholars say is weak, many also say it is authentic. (Again, we have explained the chains of narrators in Arabic)

قال أحمد بن حنبل في مسنده – (ج 5 / ص 322 رقم 22803)

22803 – حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا عبد الوهاب بن عطاء أنا الحسن بن ذكوان عن عبد الواحد بن قيس عن عبادة بن الصامت عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أنه قال : الأبدال في هذه الأمة ثلاثون مثل إبراهيم خليل الرحمن عز و جل كلما مات رجل أبدل الله تبارك وتعالى مكانه رجلا قال أبي رحمه الله فيه يعني حديث عبد الوهاب كلام غير هذا وهو منكر يعني حديث الحسن بن ذكوان (وأخرجه الهيثم بن كليب في مسنده ، والخلال في «كرامات الأولياء» ، و الحكيم الترمذي في «نوادر الأصول» (1/248) ، وأبو نعيم في «أخبار أصبهان» (1/180) والخطيب في «تالي تلخيص المتشابه» (1/248) ، وابن عساكر (1/292) جميعا من طريق الحسن بن ذكوان به .و قال علي القاري في «الأسرار المرفوعة في الأخبار الموضوعة» (ج 1 / ص 78) قال العسقلاني «لا أصل له» وقال السخاوي بعد إيراد أحاديث بمعناه وكل هذا باطل وسبق الحكم بذلك الذ هبي وابن تيمية وغيرهما ذكره ابن الديبع و آفته عبد الواحد بن قيس قال ابن المديني عن يحيى بن سعيد كان شبه لا شئ كان الحسن بن ذكوان يحدث عنه بعجائب وقال الكناني عن أبي حاتم يكتب حديثه وليس بالقوي وقال صالح بن محمد البغدادي روى عن أبي هريرة ولم يسمع منه وأظنه مدنيا سكن الشام وقال في موضع آخر ليس بالقوي وقال ابن حبان يتفرد بالمناكير عن المشاهير وقال أبو أحمد الحاكم منكر الحديث وذكره أبو بكر البرقاني فيمن وافق عليه الدارقطني من المتروكين ]تهذيب التهذيب – (ج 6 / ص 389)[
هذا،و لكن أخرجه الطبراني في «الأوسط» (ج 4 / ص 247) و قال «قال (يعني سعيد بن ابي مريم) وسمعت قتادة يقول لسنا نشك أن الحسن منهم لم يرو هذا الحديث عن قتادة إلا سعيد ولا عن سعيد إلا عبد الوهاب تفرد به إسحاق» قال الهيثمي في «مجمع الزوائد» (ج 10 / ص 46) :« رجاله رجال الصحيح غير عبد الواحد بن قيس ، وقد وثقه العجلى وأبو زرعة ، وضعفه غيرهما» ، قال الزركشى : «حديث حسن» ، كما فى «الموضوعات الكبرى» للقارى (ص 48 ، رقم 146) . و قال العجلوني في «كشف الخفاء» – (ج 1 / ص 25) «قال ابن كثير وهو كما قال ، ووثق البخاري الحسن المذكور ، وضعفه الأكثرون ، حتى قال أحمد أحاديثه أباطيل ، ثم قال فيها أيضا ولا يخفى ما فيه من التحامل ، فإن رجال الحديث مختلف فيهم ، فهو حسن على رأي جماعة من الأئمة ، وقال الزركشي أيضا هو حسن ، وقال في التمييز تبعا للأصل له طرق عن أنس مرفوعا بألفاظ مختلفة وكلها ضعيفة انتهى . وأقول لكنه يتقوى بتعدد طرقه الكثيرة »

قال السيوطي في «الجامع الكبير» (ج 1 / ص 114)«(رواه) أحمد ، والحكيم ، والخلال فى كرامات الأولياء عن عبادة بن الصامت وسنده حسن» و قال نوح بن مصطفي في القول الدال (87) «و جزم – أي السيوطي- في النكت البديعات بصحة سند هذا الحديث.»

أما عبد الواحد بن القيس المذكور فروي له مسلم قال عثمان الدارمي عن يحيى بن معين ثقة وقال العجلي شامي تابعي ثقة وذكره أبو زرعة الدمشقي في نفر ثقات ]تهذيب التهذيب – (ج 6 / ص 389)[

Ubadah Bin As Samit (Radhi Allahu anhu) narrates that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم has said, “The Abdaals of this Ummah are thirty people whose hearts are like Ibrahim (`Alayhi as salam). Every time one from amongst them passes away, Allah Ta’ala replaces him with another.”(Narrated by Imam Ahmad, Haytham bin Kulaib, Khilaal, Hakim At Tirmidhi, Abu Nuaim, Khateeb, Ibn Asaakir, At Tabrani and others. `Allamah Zarkashi said, its (chain) is good)

قال الإمام أحمد بن حنبل في مسنده – (ج 1 / ص 112)

896 – حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا أبو المغيرة ثنا صفوان حدثني شريح يعنى بن عبيد قال ذكر أهل الشام عند علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه وهو بالعراق فقالوا العنهم يا أمير المؤمنين قال لا إني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول : الأبدال يكونون بالشام وهم أربعون رجلا كلما مات رجل أبدل الله مكانه رجلا يسقى بهم الغيث وينتصر بهم على الأعداء ويصرف عن أهل الشام بهم العذاب (و رواه أحمد بن حنبل ايضا في «فضائل الصحابة »(ج 2 / ص 906) و أخرج عبد الرزاق في مصنفه (ج 11 / ص 249) أثرا بمعناه من طريق معمر عن الزهري عن عبد الله بن صفوان موقوفا عن علي بلفظ لا تسب أهل الشام جما غفيرا فإن بها الأبدال فإن بها الأبدال فإن بها الأبدال و كذا أخرجه الضياء المقدسي في «المختارة» (ج 1 / ص 272) و قال أبو المغيرة عبد القدوس بن الحجاج الخولاني شيخ البخاري وصفوان هو ابن عمرو بن هرم السكسكي من رجال الصحيح قال السيوطي في «جامع الأحاديث» (ج 10 / ص 489) (رواه أحمد عن على وسنده صحيح) و قال الهيثمي في «مجمع الزوائد» (ج 10 / ص 45) رواه أحمد ورجاله رجال الصحيح غير شريح بن عبيد وهو ثقة وقد سمع من المقداد وهو أقدم من علي) و قال أحمد بن أبي بكر بن إسماعيل البوصيري رواه إسحاق ، ورواته ثقات . «إتحاف الخيرة المهرة» (ج 7 / ص 356)

Ali (Radhi Allahu anhu) has narrated that Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم has said, “Abdaals will be in Syria. They are forty men. Every time one of them passes away, Allah replaces him with another. Through them does the rain descend and you gain victory over your enemies. It is also because of them that punishment is averted from the people of Syria.” (Narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad and Fadhaail as Sahabah, Allamah Abdur Razzaq, Allamah Dhiyah al Maqdasy and others. Allamah Suyuti, Busairi and others said that the chain is authentic)

Allamah Munawi (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) has clarified an important misconception which could arise from the above hadith. He mentions

(تنبيه) في خبر لأبي نعيم في الحلية بدل قوله هنا بهم تقوم الأرض إلخ بهم يحيى ويميت ويمطر وينبت ويدفع البلاء قال : وقيل لابن مسعود راوي الخبر : كيف بهم يحيي ويميت ويمطر قال : لأنهم يسألون الله عز وجل إكثار الأمم فيكثرون ويدعون على الجبابرة فيقصمون ويستسقون فيسقون ويسألون فتنبت لهم الأرض ويدعون فيدفع بهم أنواع البلاء «فيض القدير» (ج 3 / ص 218)

The meaning of what was stated that “…Through them does the rain descend and you gain victory over your enemies. It is also because of them that punishment is averted from the people of Syria.” Is that these things take place because of their duas (Allah Ta’ala is the true doer of all these).

قال الطبراني في «المعجم الكبير» – (ج 18 / ص 65)

حدثنا أبو زرعة عبد الرحمن بن عمرو الدمشقي ثنا محمد بن المبارك الصوري ثنا عمرو بن واقد عن يزيد بن أبي مالك عن شهر بن حوشب قال : لما فتحت مصر سبوا أهل الشام فأخرج عوف بن مالك رأسه من ترس ثم قال : يا أهل مصر أنا عوف بن مالك لا تسبوا أهل الشام فإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول : ( فيهم الأبدال وبهم تنصرون وبهم ترزقون (قال الهيثمي في مجمع الزوائد – (ج 10 / ص 47) رواه الطبراني وفيه عمرو بن واقد وقد ضعفه جمهور الأئمة ووثقه محمد بن المبارك الصوري وشهر اختلفوا فيه وبقية رجاله ثقات قلت حسن الترمذي احاديث كثيرة لشهر و حسن السيوطي هذا الخبر في الجامع الصغير و لم يعارضه المناوي في التيسير (ج 1 / ص 856) و كذا قال نوح بن مصطفي (88) قال السيوطي في النكت البديعات: سنده حسن

Auf bin Malik (r.a) told the people of Egypt, “O people of Egypt, I am Auf bin Malik, do not swear the people of Syria for verily I have heard Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم saying, “Amongst them is the Abdaal through who you are aided and (you are also) given sustenance (by virtue of their prayers).” (Narrated by At Tabrani and graded as good by Suyuti and others)

There are also numerous statements mentioned from the Sahabah. Since this is a matter which cannot possibly be imagined by the human intellect, Scholars of hadith grade these statements of Sahabah on the same level as marfoo (a statement of Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم). In his treatise, Imam Suyuti mentioned narrations of the following Sahabah. Many of these statements could also be found in Allamah Nuh bin Mustafa’s ‘Al Qawl ad daal ala hayaat al khidhr wa wujood al abdaal’.

1) Umar bin Khattab (Radhi Allahu anhu)
2) Ali (Radhi Allahu anhu)
3) Anas (Radhi Allahu anhu)
4) Hudhaifah (Radhi Allahu anhu)
5) Ubaadah bin As Saamit (Radhi Allahu anhu)
6) Ibn Abbaas (Radhi Allahu anhu)
7) Ibn Umar (Radhi Allahu anhu)
8) Ibn Masood (Radhi Allahu anhu)
9) Auf bin Malik (Radhi Allahu anhu)
10) Mu’aaz bin Jabal (Radhi Allahu anhu)
11) Waathilah bin Al Asqa (Radhi Allahu anhu)
12) Abu Saeed Al Khudri (Radhi Allahu anhu)
13) Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu anhu)
14) Abu Ad Darda (Radhi Allahu anhu)
15) Um Salamah (Radhi Allahu anhu)

In fact, the following statement of Ali (Radhi Allahu anhu) is said to be narrated with the most authentic chain. Ibn Salah (may Allah be pleased with him) has said that this has the strongest chain of narrators. Imam Sakhawi (may Allah be pleased with him) said that this is the best of what is narrated (on this subject). Some have also mentioned it as a hadith of Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم

قال الحاكم في مستدركه على الصحيحين (ج 4 / ص 596)

8658 – أخبرني أحمد بن محمد بن سلمة العنزي ثنا عثمان بن سعيد الدارمي ثنا سعيد بن أبي مريم أنبأ نافع بن يزيد حدثني عياش بن عباس أن الحارث بن يزيد حدثه أنه سمع عبد الله بن زرير الغافقي يقول : سمعت علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه يقول : ستكون فتنة يحصل الناس منها كما يحصل الذهب في المعدن فلا تسبوا أهل الشام و سبوا ظلمتهم فإن فيهم الأبدال و سيرسل الله إليهم سيبا من السماء فيغرقهم حتى لو قاتلتهم الثعالب غلبتهم ثم يبعث الله عند ذلك رجلا من عترة الرسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في اثني عشر ألفا إن قلوا و خمسة عشر ألفا إن كثروا إمارتهم أو علامتهم أمت أمت على ثلاث رايات يقاتلهم أهل سبع رايات ليس من صاحب راية إلا و هو يطمع بالملك فيقتتلون و يهزمون ثم يظهر الهاشمي فيرد الله إلى الناس إلفتهم و نعمتهم فيكونون على ذلك حتى يخرج الدجال( رواه الحاكم و قال «هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد و لم يخرجاه »، و علق الذهبي في التلخيص : «صحيح» ، قال علي القاري في «الأسرار المرفوعة في الأخبار الموضوعة » (ج 1 / ص 77) وعن ابن الصلاح «أقوى ما روينا في الأبدال قول علىٍ أنه بالشام يكون الأبدال» ، و أخرج الطبراني هذا الحديث في «المعجم الأوسط » (ج 4 / ص 176) من طريق زيد بن ابي الزرقاء قال ثنا ابن لهيعة قال نا عياش بن عباس القتباني عن عبد الله بن زرير الغافقي عن علي بن أبي طالب عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و قال في آخره لم يرو هذا الحديث عن ابن لهيعة إلا زيد بن أبي الزرقاء ، قال ابن عساكر (1/331) «هذا وهم من الطبراني بل رواه الوليد بن مسلم أيضا عن ابن لهيعة» ثم رواه ابن عساكر بسنده إلي الوليد قال ثنا ابن لهيعة به و قال الهيثمي في «مجمع الزوائد» – (ج 7 / ص 616 دار الفكر) «رواه الطبراني في «الأوسط» وفيه ابن لهيعة وهو لين وبقية رجاله ثقات» و كذا أخرجه نعيم بن حماد في الفتن

Ali (Radhi Allahu anhu) has said, “There will be tribulations through people will gain (wealth) as gold is attained from a mine. So do not swear the people of Damascus, but rather speak out against their oppression, for verily, amongst them are Abdaals …..” (Narrated by Hakim who graded it as authentic. Dhahabi also agreed on its authenticity.)

Besides the above, there are numerous ‘inferior’ Ahadith which are also narrated concerning the Abdaals. Due to the large number, they could be cited to substantiate and prove the existence of Abdaals. The great Scholar, Allamah Munawi (may Allah be pleased with him) has stated,

قال المناوي في «الفيض» [3/170] «وهذه الأخبار وإن فرض ضعفها جميعها لكن لا ينكر تقوى الحديث الضعيف بكثرة طرقه وتعدد مخرجيه إلا جاهل بالصناعة الحديثية أو معاندة متعصب»

“These Ahadith are such, that even if you assume all of them to be weak; only an ignorant person of the science of hadith or a stubborn bigot will deny that weak Ahadith are strengthened due to many chains and many people narrating it.”

Having said this, we now go on to enumerate the Ahadith which Allamah As Sakhaawy has alluded to in his famous ‘Al Maqaasid al hasanah (pg 8-10)

المقاصد الحسنة للسخاوي – (ج 1 / ص 9/8)

حديث ( الأبدال ) له طرق عن أنس رضي الله عنه مرفوعا بألفاظ مختلفة كلها ضعيفة

منها للخلال في «كرامات الأولياء» بلفظ ( الأبدال أربعون رجلا وأربعون امرأة كلما مات رجل أبدل الله رجلا مكانه وإذا ماتت امرأة أبدل الله مكانها امرأة )

ومنها للطبراني في «الأوسط» بلفظ ( لن تخلو الأرض من أربعين رجلا مثل خليل الرحمن عليه السلام فبهم يسقون وبهم ينصرون ما مات منهم أحدا إلا أبدل الله مكانه آخر

ومنها لابن عدي في كامله بلفظ ( البدلاء أربعون اثنان وعشرون بالشام وثمانية عشر بالعراق كلما مات منهم واحدا بدل الله مكانه آخر فإذا جاء الأمر قبضوا كلهم فعند ذلك تقوم الساعة )

وكذا يروى كما عند أحمد في «المسند» والخلال وغيرهما عن عبادة بن الصامت رضي الله عنه مرفوعا ( لا يزال في هذه الأمة ثلاثون مثل إبراهيم خليل الرحمن كلما مات واحد أبدل الله عز وجل مكانه رجلا )

وفي لفظ للطبراني في «الكبير» ( بهم تقوم الأرض وبهم يمطرون وبهم ينصرون )

ولأبي نعيم في «الحلية» عن ابن عمر رفعه ( خيار أمتي في كل قرن خمسمائة والابدال أربعون فلا الخمسمائة ينقصون ولا الأربعون كلما مات رجل أبدل الله مكانه آخر ) قالوا يا رسول الله دلنا على أعمالهم قال ( يعفون عمن ظلمهم ويحسنون إلى من أساء إليهم ويتواصلون فيما أتاهم الله عز وجل )

وفي لفظ للخلال ( لا يزال أربعون رجلا يحفظ الله بهم الأرض كلما مات رجل أبدل الله مكانه آخر وهم في الأرض كلها )

وفي «الحلية» أيضا عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه رفعه ( لا يزال أربعون رجلا من أمتي قلوبهم على قلب إبراهيم يدفع الله بهم عن أهل الأرض يقال لهم الابدال إنهم لم يدركوها بصلاة ولا بصوم ولا بصدقة ) قالوا فبم أدركوها يا رسول الله قال ( بالسخاء والنصيحة للمسلمين )

والجملة الأخيرة تروى كما للطبراني في «الأجواد» وغيره كأبي بكر ابن لال في «مكارم الأخلاق» عن أنس رضي الله عنه رفعه بلفظ ( إن بدلاء أمتي لم يدخلوا الجنة بصلاة ولا صيام ولكن دخلوها بسخاء الأنفس وسلامة الصدور والنصح للمسلمين )

وللخرائطي في «المكارم» من حديث أبي سعيد نحوه

“The hadith of Abdaal: “It has a number of different routes from Anas (RA) from the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم, with different wordings, all of which are da’eef. Amongst them are:

A) The hadith related by Al Khalaal in ‘Karaamaat al-Awliyaa’, “the Abdaal are forty men and forty women, every time a man passes away, Allaah substitutes another man in his place, and every time a woman dies, Allaah substitutes another woman in her place”

B) The hadith narrated by At Tabaraany in ‘Al Awsat’ with the following wording, “there will always be forty people on the earth who are like the Khaleel (friend) of the most merciful (Ebrahim), alayhis salaam, and by them the people will be given to drink (or have rain come down), and through them people will be aided, whenever one of them dies, Allaah (immediately)substitutes him with another (who take his place.)”

C) The hadith related by Ibn Adee in ‘Kaamil’, “The Abdaal are forty; twenty two from Shaam, and eighteen from Iraq, each time one of them dies Allaah substitutes another one in his place. And when the Command comes then all of them will be taken (qubidoo) and at that time the Hour (Qiyamah) will be established.”

D) Likewise, it is related by Ahmad, Al Khallaal and others from Ubaadah bin Saamit (RA) from the Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم, “There will always be thirty people in this Ummah like Ebrahim, the friend of the most merciful, each time one of them dies Allaah substitutes another in his place.”

E) In the ‘Kabeer’ of At Tabaraany the following wording appears, “and by them the earth will remain established, and by them it will rain, and by them they (the Muslims) will be aided.”

F) The hadith of Abu Nu’aym in ‘Al-Hilya’ from Ibn Umar from the Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم, ‘the chosen ones of my nation are five hundred in every generation, and the Abdaal are forty, neither the five hundred nor the forty will decrease, each time one of them dies Allah puts another in his place.” The Companions enquired, “Please inform us of their actions” Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم replied, “They forgive those who oppress them, and they show kindness to those who ill treat them and they embrace what Allah has given them”

G) Al Khallaal has the wording, “There will constantly be forty people by virtue of whom Allah will preserve the earth, every time one of them dies Allah substitutes another in his place.”

H) Also the hadith in ‘Al Hilya’ narrated from Ibn Mas’ud (RA), “there will always be forty people from my Ummah whose hearts are like the heart of Ebrahim, Allah will avert (evil from) the people of the earth through them, they will be called the Abdaal. Indeed they did not attain it (this position of Abdaal) by (a great deal of) prayers or fasting or giving in charity.” Sahabah asked, “So how did they attain it, O Messenger of Allah?” Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم replied, “through generosity, and by advising the Muslims.”

I) The hadith reported by at-Tabaraany in “Al Ajwaad” and others like Ibn Laal in ‘Makaarim al akhlaaq’ on the authority of Anas (RA) from the Messenger صلي الله عليه و سلم , “Indeed the Abdaal of this ummah will not enter Paradise due to (a great deal) of prayers or fasting, but they will enter due to generosity, clean hearts and advising the Muslims.”

J) Al Kharaa’ity related a similar hadith from Abu Sa’eed (RA) in ‘Al Makaarim’

CONCLUSION

It would be ideal to conclude this discussion with the brief summary done by Imam Suyuti (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him). Imam Suyuti mentioned:

خبر الأبدال صحيح فضلا عما دون ذلك وإن شئت قلت متواتر وقد أفردته بتأليف استوعبت فيه طرق الأحاديث الواردة في ذلك و الحاصل أنه ورد من حديث عمر رضي الله عنه أخرجه ابن عساكر من طريقين وعلى أخرجه أحمد والطبراني والحاكم وغيرهم من طرق أكثر من عشرة بعضها على شرط الصحيح وأنس وله ست طرق منها طريق في معجم الطبراني الأوسط حسنه الهيثمي في مجمع الزوائد وعبادة ابن الصامت أخرجه أحمد بسند صحيح وابن عباس أخرجه أحمد في الزهد بسند صحيح وابن عمر وله ثلاث طرق في المعجم الكبير للطبراني وكراميات الأولياء للخلال والحلية لأبي نعيم وابن مسعود وله طريقان في المعجم الكبير والحلية وعوف بن مالك أخرجه الطبراني بسند حسن ومعاذ بن جبل أخرجه الديلمي وأبي سعيد الخدري أخرجه البيهقي في الشعب وأبي هريرة وله طريق آخر غير التي أوردها ابن الجوزي أخرجها الخلال في كرامات الأولياء وأم سلمة أخرجه أحمد وأبو داود في سننه والحاكم والبيهقي وغيرهم ومن مرسل الحسن أخرجه ابن أبي الدنيا في السخاء والبيهقي في الشعب ومن مرسل عطاء أخرجه أبو داود في مراسيله ومن مرسل بكر بن حنيش أخرجه ابن أبي الدنيا في كتاب الأولياء ومن مرسل شهر بن حوشب أخرجه ابن جرير في تفسيره وأما الآثار عن الحسن البصري وقتادة وخالد بن معدان وأبي الزاهرية وابن شوذب وعطاء وغيرهم من التابعين فمن بعدهم فكثيرة جدا ومثل ذلك بالغ حد التواتر المعنوي لا محالة بحيث يقطع بصحة وجود الأبدال ضرورة انتهى (النكت البديعات 280-282 دار مكة المكرمة)

The hadith of Abdaals is authentic, leave alone being lesser than that. If you desire, you can even say it is mutawatir. I have dedicated an entire treatise to this topic in which I covered the various chains of narrators pertaining to this subject. The summary is that it is narrated by

1) Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhu) as narrated by Ibn Asaakir via two chains.
2) Ali (radhi Allahu anhu) as narrated by Ahmad, At Tabrani, Al Hakim etc with over ten channels; some of which are (in conformity) with the conditions of Saheeh (Al Bukhari).
3) Anas (radhi Allahu anhu). Narrated through six chains, amongst them is the chain mentioned in Al Mujam al Awsat of At Tabrani which Allamah Al Haythami has graded as good in Majma az zawaaid.
4) Ubaadah bin as Samit (radhi Allahu anhu) as narrated by Imam Ahmad with a authentic chain.
5) Ibn Abbaas (radhi Allahu anhu). Imam Ahmad mentioned it in Az Zuhdwith an authentic chain.
6) Ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhu) which is narrated through three different chains in Al Mujam al kabeer, Karaamaat al Awliyaa of Khallal and Abu Nuaim.
7) Ibn Masood (radhi Allahu anhu). This is narrated through two chains; (one in) Al Mujam al Kabeer and (the other) is in Al Hulya.
8) Auf bin Malik which is narrated in At Tabrani with a good chain.
9) Muaaz bin Jabal. Imsm Daylami narrated his report.
10) Abu Saeed Al Kudri. Imam Bayhaqi narrated his report in ‘As Shu’ab’.
11) Abu Hurairah. It is narrated through a different chain from what Ibn al Jawzi narrated. (This chain) is transmitted By Al Khallaal in ‘Karaamaat al Awliyah’.
12) Umm Salamah. The chain has been transmitted by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Al Hakim, Al Bayhaqi and others.

From the Mursal, (there are narrations from the following Tabi’een) (Note-Majority of the Scholars accept Mursal Ahadith, although Imam Shafi puts just a few conditions)

1) Hasan which is narrated by Ibn Abi ad dunya in his ‘Sakha’ and Al Bayhaqi in ‘Ash Shuab’.
2) Ata. It has been narrated by Abu Dawood in his ‘Maraasil’
3) Bakr bin Hunaish. Ibn Abi ad Dunyanarrates it in his book ‘Al Awliyah’.
4) Shahr bin Hawhab which has been narrated by Ibn Jareer in his Tafseer.

As for he Aathaar, there is narrations recorded from the following
1) Hasan Basri
2) Qatadah
3) Khalid bin Madaan
4) Abi az Zaahiriyyah
5) Ibn Shawdhab
6) Ata

There are numerous other traditions transmitted from many more Tabi’een and Scholars who came after them. There is no doubt that the like of this has most definitely reached the status of tawaatur ma’anawi. Out of necessity, a person has to have firm conviction on the existence of Abdaals. (An Nukat al badi’aat 280-282)

1 Many sayings of the Prophet (s) mention the various types and ranks of the saints, as Suyuti has shown in his collection of them in his article: ‘al-Khabar al-daall `ala wujood al-qutb wa al-awtaad wa al-nujabaa’ wa al-abdaal’ or “The Reported Matter That Indicates the Existence of the Pole, the Pillars, the Leaders, and the Substitutes (of the Awliya).”
2 Risala fi al-qutb wa al-abdal al-arba`in (Treatise on the Pole of saints and the forty substitute-saints)
( By Sultan al-`ulama’ al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami (d. 660))
3 The Prophet (s) said: “The true vision is one-forty sixth part of prophecy.” The Imam of the Sunnah and of Tasawwuf, the Ghawth (Arch- Helper) of Mankind Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Gilani — may Allah sanctify his secret — said (Discourse 9 of ‘Futuh al-ghayb’): “To awliya and abdal (Substitutes) are disclosed such workings of Allah as in the course of kashf and mushahada (vision) as overwhelm the reasoning power of man and shatter into pieces all habits and customs.” These phenomena fall under the category of khawaariq (extraordinary matters) to which belong the karaamaat, the “gifts” or miracles of saints, belief in which is an obligation of each and every person in Islam. (The sect of the Mu`tazila did not believe in the miracles of the saints, and some today even say that the awliya are not known!)
4 The Prophet emphasized in many authentic narrations the benefits brought to all creation through the intercession of Allah’s saints and their standing with Him. Suyuti in his fatwa on the Abdal in his Hawi li al-fatawi provided many examples of this type of universal intercession from which we quote the following:

1. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrates in his Musnad (1:112):

… The people of Syria were mentioned in front of `Ali ibn Abi Talib while he was in Iraq, and they said: “Curse them, O Commander of the Believers.” He replied: “No, I heard the Messenger of Allah say: The Substitutes (al-Abdal) are in Syria and they are forty men, every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another in his place. By means of them Allah brings down the rain, gives (Muslims) victory over their enemies, and averts punishment from the people of Syria.” al-Haythami said: “The men in its chains are all those of the sahih except for Sharih ibn `Ubayd, and he is trustworthy (thiqa).” Sakhawi mentions this narration in his Maqasid (p. 33 #8) and says the same. However, he is of the opinion that it is more likely a saying of `Ali himself.

It is noteworthy that despite its chain to the Prophet, which is sound without contest, Ibn Taymiyya in his book al-Furqan bayna awliya’ al-Rahman wa awliya’ al-shaytan nevertheless rejects the authenticity of the hadith on the grounds that the group of `Ali in Iraq was better than the group of Mu`awiya in Syria — may Allah be pleased with both of them — so he does not understand why the Abdal should be found among the latter! The truth is that the identification of the Abdal with Syria does not preclude the above, nor is it limited to the time of the Companions, as established by the statements of Qatada (see below, #3), Wahb ibn Munabbih (#6), Shafi`i, Bukhari, Nawawi (#7), and others. In fact, the Prophet mentioned (#5) that they would be found in Syria right up to the time of the Mahdi.

2. al-Hakim narrated the following which he graded sound (sahih), and al-Dhahabi confirmed him:

`Ali said: “Do not curse the people of Syria, for among them are the Substitutes (al-Abdal), but curse their injustice.”
The above is a narration of `Ali not attributed to the Prophet. Note, however, that any religious knowledge unattainable through ijtihad and authentically conveyed from one of the Companions is considered a hadith by the experts of that science.

3. Tabarani said in his Mu`jam al-awsat:

Anas said that the Prophet said: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place.” Qatada said: “We do not doubt that al-Hasan [al-Basri] is one of them.

Ibn Hibban narrates it in al-Tarikh through Abu Hurayra as: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful, and through whom you are helped, receive your sustenance, and receive rain.”

4. Imam Ahmad also narrated in the Musnad (5:322) through `Abd al-Wahhab ibn `Ata':
The Prophet said: “The Substitutes in this Community are thirty like Ibrahim the Friend of the Merciful. Every time one of them dies, Allah substitutes another one in his place.” Ahmad said: “Other than this is also narrated from `Abd al-Wahhab, but it is denounced (munkar).”
________________________________________
Hakim Tirmidhi cites it in Nawadir al-usul and Ahmad’s student al-Khallal in his Karamat al-awliya’. Haythami said its men are those of the sahih except `Abd al-Wahid who was declared trustworthy by al-`Ijli and Abu Zar`a (as well as Yahya ibn Ma`in). He is one of the narrators of Imam Muslim and also Tirmidhi.
5. Abu Dawud through three different good chains the “Book of the Mahdi” in his Sunan (English #4273), Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (6:316), Ibn Abi Shayba in his Musannaf, Abu Ya`la, al-Hakim, and Bayhaqi narrated:

Umm Salama the wife of the Prophet related that the Prophet said: “Disagreement will occur at the death of a Caliph and a man of the people of Madina will come forth flying to Mecca. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out against his will and swear allegiance to him between the Corner and the Maqam. An expeditionary force will then be sent against him from Syria but will be swallowed up in the desert between Mecca and Madina, and when the people see that, the Substitutes (abdal) of Syria and the best people (`asaba) of Iraq will come to him and swear allegiance to him between the rukn and the maqam…”

6. Imam Ahmad cited in Kitab al-zuhd, also Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu`aym, Bayhaqi, and Ibn `Asakir narrated from Julays:

Wahb ibn Munabbih said: I saw the Prophet in my sleep, so I said: “Ya Rasulallah, where are the Substitutes (budala’) of your Community?” So he gestured with his hand towards Syria. I said: “Ya Rasulallah, aren’t there any in Iraq?” He said: “Yes, Muhammad ibn Wasi`, Hassan ibn Abi Sinan, and Malik ibn Dinar, who walks among the people similarly to Abu Dharr in his time.”

7. Nawawi in Bustan al-`arifin (1985 ed. p. 31) mentions that the hadith master Hammad ibn Salama ibn Dinar (d. 167) was considered to be one of the Abdal. Sakhawi in his notice on the narrations of the Abdal already referred to said:
What makes this hadith stronger and indicates its currency among the Imams is the statement of our Imam, al-Shafi`i, concerning a certain man: “We considered him one of the Abdal,” and Bukhari’s statement concerning another: “They did not doubt that he was one of the Abdal,” and other than these two among the highly meticulous scholars, hadith masters, and imams [such as Qatada and Wahb, see above] also used this description for other people, stating that they were of the Abdal.

It is extremely telling that in their derogatory references to the abdal, the “Salafis” never mention the above strong reports and evidence from the scholars, but only mention the weakest reports they can find, ignoring what is established as authentic (such as #1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 above) because it does not fit their opinion. They seem to think that their Imam, Ibn Taymiyya, erred in his assertion, in his fundamental `Aqida wasitiyya, that “The Substitutes (Abdal) and the Imams of religion are to be found among them [the true adherents of Islam in its pristine purity], and the Muslims are in full accord concerning their guidance”! Truly, success is from Allah alone.

The hadiths of the Abdal of Syria is confirmed by the very high status of Syria in the hadiths of the Prophet’s Isra’ and Mi`raj. The Prophet called Syria the purest of Allah’s lands, the place where Religion, belief and safety are found in the time of dissension, and the home of the saints for whose sake Allah sends sustenance to the people and victory to Muslims over their enemies:

8. Ibn `Asakir in Tahdhib tarikh Dimashq al-kabir relates from Ibn Mas`ud that the Prophet compared the world to a little rain water on a mountain plateau of which the safw had already been drunk and from which only the kadar or dregs remained. al-Huwjiri and al-Qushayri mention it in their chapters on tasawwuf, respectively in Kashf al-mahjub and al-Risala al-qushayriyya. Ibn al-Athir defines safw and safwa in his dictionary al-Nihaya as “the best of any matter, its quintessence, and purest part.” The quintessence spoken of by the Prophet is Syria, because he called Syria “the quintessence of Allah’s lands” (safwat Allah min biladih). Tabarani related it from `Irbad ibn Sariya and Haythami authenticated the chain of transmission in his book Majma` al-zawa’id, chapter entitled Bab fada’il al-sham.

9. Abu al-Darda’ narrated that the Prophet said:

As I was sleeping I saw the Column of the Book being carried away from under my head. I feared lest it would be taken away, so I followed it with my eyes and saw that it was being planted in Syria. Verily, belief in the time of dissensions will be in Syria.

Haythami said that Ahmad narrated it with a chain whose narrators are all the men of the sahih — sound narrations — and that al-Bazzar narrated it with a chain whose narrators are the men of sound hadith except for Muhammad ibn `Amir al-Antaki, and he is thiqa — trustworthy.

In the version Tabarani narrated from Ibn `Amr in al-Mu`jam al kabir and al-Mu`jam al-awsat the Prophet repeats three times: “When the dissensions take place, belief will be in Syria.” One manuscript bears: “Safety will be in Syria.” al-Haythami said the men in its chain are those of sound hadith except for Ibn Lahi`a, and he is fair (hasan).

10. al-Tabarani relates from `Abd Allah ibn Hawala that the Prophet said:
I saw on the night that I was enraptured a white column resembling a pearl, which the angels were carrying. I said to them: What are you carrying? They replied: The Column of the Book. We have been ordered to place it in Syria. Later, in my sleep, I saw that the Column of the Book was snatched away from under my headrest (wisadati). I began to fear lest Allah the Almighty had abandoned the people of the earth. My eyes followed where it went. It was a brilliant light in front of me. Then I saw it was placed in Syria.” `Abd Allah ibn Hawala said: “O Messenger of Allah, choose for me (where I should go).” The Prophet said: `alayka bi al-sham — “You must go to Syria.

al-hafiz al-Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa’id: “The narrators in its chain of transmission are all those of sound hadith, except Salih ibn Rustum, and he is thiqa — trustworthy.”

Al-Hasan was considered by the Salaf to be one of the “Substitute-Saints” (al-Abdal). Anas ( narrated that the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him — said: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Ibrahim (as)], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place.” Qatada said: “We do not doubt that al-Hasan is one of them ( (, Narrated from Anas by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat with a fair chain and from Ibn Mas`ud with a chain containing two unknown narrators, both as per al-Haythami (10:63).

similar hadith in Musnad Ahmad:

حديث رقم: 898
مسند أحمد > ومن مسند علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه > ومن مسند علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي ثنا أبو المغيرة ثنا صفوان حدثني شريح ـ يعني ابن عبيد ـ قال : : ( ذكر أهل الشام عند علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه وهو بالعراق ، فقالوا : العنهم يا أمير المؤمنين ، قال : لا ، إني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول الأبدال يكونون بالشام ، وهم أربعون رجلاً كلما مات رجل أبدل الله مكانه رجلاً ، يسقى بهم الغيث وينتصر بهم على الأعداء ، ويصرف عن أهل الشام بهم العذاب .).

Something interesting from Fayd Al-Qadir:

وأصح مما تقدم كله خبر أحمد عن عليٍّ مرفوعاً البدلاء يكونون بالشام وهم أربعون رجلاً كلما مات رجل أبدل اللّه مكانه رجلاً يسقى بهم ‏[‏أي بدعائهم‏]‏ الغيث وينتصر بهم على الأعداء ويصرف بهم عن أهل الشام العذاب ثم قال، أعني السخاوي، رجاله رجال الصحيح غير شريح بن عبيد وهو ثقة اهـ‏.‏
وقال شيخه ابن حجر في فتاويه‏:‏ الأبدال وردت في عدة أخبار منها ما يصح وما لا وأما القطب فورد في بعض الآثار وأما الغوث بالوصف المشتهر بين الصوفية فلم يثبت‏.‏

From Kanz Al-‘Ummal:

34592- الأبدال في هذه الأمة ثلاثون رجلا، قلوبهم على قلب إبراهيم خليل الرحمن، كلما مات رجل أبدل الله مكانه رجلا‏.‏
‏(‏حم، عن عبادة بن الصامت‏)‏‏.‏ ‏(‏قال المناوي في الفيض ‏(‏3/168‏)‏ قال الهيثمي‏:‏ ورجاله رجال الصحيح غير عبد الواحد بن قيس وقد وثقه العجلي وأبو زرعة وضعفه غيرهما‏.‏ ص‏)‏‏.‏

34593- الأبدال في أمتي ثلاثون، بهم تقوم الأرض؛ وبهم تمطرون، وبهم تنصرون‏.‏
‏(‏طب، عنه‏)‏‏.‏ ‏(‏قال المناوي في الفيض ‏(‏1/168‏)‏ قال المصنف‏:‏ وسنده صحيح‏.‏ ص‏)‏‏.‏

34607- الأبدال يكونون بالشام وهم أربعون رجلا، كلما مات رجل أبدل الله مكانه رجلا، يسقى بهم الغيث، وينتصر بهم على الأعداء، ويصرف عن أهل الشام بهم العذاب‏.‏
‏(‏حم – عن علي، وسنده صحيح‏)‏‏.‏

* Abu Na‘eemwrites in his Hilya al-Aulia quoting the Prophet, “There will be five hundred Akhyar(virtuous) among my followers in every age and forty ‘Abdal. This number will not decrease. When one dies from among the latter, the vacancy will be filled, by a Divine ar­rangement, from the former.”

* Narrates Imam Ahmad, “There will be thirty‘Abdal among the followers of the Prophet whose hearts will resemble that of ProphetIbrahim . Any vacancy due to death of anyone will be filled up im­mediately by Divine arrangement.”

* Narrates Tibrani, “There will be thirty ‘Abdal among my followers. The earth shall owe its existence to them. They will be instrumental inbringing rains and ALLAH ’s succour.”

* Abu Asakar quotes the Prophet, “The ‘Abdal are in Syria, they are forty men. They bring rains and victory against your enemies, because of themthe afflictions of mankind are removed by the Almighty.”

* Narrates Tibrani, “The ‘Abdal will be in Syria, because of them youwill receive ALLAH ’shelp and provisions.”

* Narrates Imam Ahmad, “‘Abdal are in Syria and they are forty men. Any vacancies due to death are filled up byHis plan. Because of them you get rains and ALLAH ’shelp in encounters with your enemies. They are also instrumental in averting Divine retribution from the people of Syria.”

* Narrates Khalil in his Karamat-e Aulia and Wahlmi in his Musnad-e Firdaws, “‘Abdal are forty men and women. Casualties among them are replaced accordingly by a Divine arrangement.”

* Narrates al-Hakam, “‘Abdal are from among His slaves.”
* Narrates Ibn-e Abi Dunya, “The identification of ‘Abdal among my followers is that they do not invoke curse on anything.”

* Narrates Ibn-e Habban, “The earth shall not be without thirty and eighty righteous men, who shall be like Prophet Ibrahim . Because of them your afflictions will be removed and rains and provisions shall be bestowed on you.”

* Narrates Imam Bahaiqi, “The ‘Abdal from among my followers shall enter Paradise not by virtue of their deeds alone, but by ALLAH’s Mercy, munificence of their souls and enlightenment of their hearts.”

* Narrates Ibn-e ‘Adi, “‘Abdal are forty, twenty two in Syria and eight­een in ‘ Iraq. Casualties due to death are replaced under His arrange­ment. Doomsday shall follow their passing away, by ALLAH’s Command.”

* Narrates Tibrani, “Forty men who are like Prophet Ibrahim shall al­ways inhabit the earth. They will be the cause of rains and ALLAH’s help to you. When anyone passes away, another will take his place by a Divine arrangement.”

* Narrates Abu Na‘eem, “There will always remain among my follow­ers forty men, whose hearts shall be like that of Prophet Ibrahim . Due to their blessing, sufferings of mankind will be removed- they are called ‘Abdal.”

* A mention has also been made about Qutb by some of the scholars of Hadith, for example, Abu Na‘eem in his Hilya declares that a number of Hadith are available in corroboration of this point. Narrates at-Tirmizi and Abu Na‘eem, “There will be among my followers some foremost in ALLAH’s nearness and they will be there in all ages.”

Note : The above narrations have been critically examined. ‘Allama Sa­yuti quotes about twenty Hadith from books and narrations on the subject of ‘Abdal. He grades all of them as authentic. ‘Abdal being a common factor in all the aforementioned Hadith, his existence will have to be con­ceded. The book referred by `Allama Sayuti is al-Khabr ad-Dal min Wujud al-Qutb wa Nujaba wal-Abdal.

Pertaining to the exact number of Awliya (Saints, Friends of God) the following Ahadith provide some indication to their rank and status with some numbers:

1. Imam Abu Nu’aym al-Asbahani relates a Hadith in his Magnum Opus “Hilyat-ul-Awliya“:

On the authority of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be well pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Allah Almighty has created three hundred people, whose hearts are like that of Adam, and He created forty people whose hearts are like Moses. He also created seven people whose hearts are like that of Abraham, and he created five people with a heart like that of Gabriel, and three people with a heart like that of Mika’il and only one person with a heart like that of Rafa’il (Raphael). When such a person dies, Allah Almighty will replace him with one of the three. When one of such three dies, Allah Almighty will replace him with one of the five. When one of the seven dies, Allah Almighty will replace him with one of the forty, and when one of the forty dies, He will replace him with one of the three hundred and when one of the three hundred elite dies, Allah Almighty will replace him with someone He chooses from among the pious masses. Such a person will live among the people, and through his prayers (dua), by Allah Almighty’s permission, life and death, rain and prosperity will come and calamity will be averted.”

2. Imam Abu Nu’aym al-Asbahani relates another Hadith on similar lines in “Hilyat-ul-Awliya“:

On the authority of Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be well pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Forty men from amongst my Ummah are such whose hearts are like that of Sayyidina Ibrahim’s heart. By virtue of them, Allah Almighty protects His creation from calamities; it is they who are known as Abdaal.” (Rest of Hadith same as above mentioned to the end).

3. Imam at-Tabaraani reports a Hadith in his “Al-Awsat” which again is on similar lines to Imam Abu Nu’aym’s Hadith:

On the authority of Sayyidina Anas ibn Malik, may He be well pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, may he be greeted with peace, said:

“The earth shall never be without forty men, whose hearts shall be upon Sayyidina Ibrahim, upon whom be peace. By virtue of them, the earth is in existence and by virtue of them (Allah Almighty) provides rain to you. From among them none dies but Allah Almighty replaces him with another.”

4. Imam Abu Nu’aym al-Asbahani relates another Hadith in “Hilyat-ul-Awliya”:

On the authority of Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Amr, the Messenger of Allah may he be greeted with peace, said:

“The Akhyaar amongst my Ummah in every century are five hundred, and the Abdaal are forty and their number does not increase. Neither the five hundred nor forty diminish in number. When one among the forty Abdaal dies, Allah Almighty replaces him with one of the five hundred.”

This last Ahadith has been mentioned by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may the mercy of Allah be upon him, in “Musnad Ahmad” and Imam Waliddin al-Khatib at-Tabrizi in his “Mishkaat al-Masaabih” where both are major and important compilations of Hadith used by both students and Hadith Scholars of all the greatest ages till today. This hadith is the version reported by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in “Musnad Ahmad“.

5. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal relates in “Musnad Ahmad“:

On the authority of Sayyidina Shurayh ibn Ubaid, may He be well pleased with him, that:

“When the people of Syria were mentioned in Imam Ali’s presence, someone said: ” O! Prince of the Believers, curse them!” Imam Ali, peace be upon him, replied: “No! I heard Allah Almighty’s Messenger saying: ‘Abdaal will be in Syria. They are forty men; whenever one dies Allah Almighty replaces him with another man. By virtue of them (Allah Almighty) provides rain and by virtue of them (Allah Almighty) provides help against the enemies. By virtue of them (Allah Almighty’s) punishment is averted from the Syrians.” (Musnad Ahmad)
The presence of the Abdaal, their extraordinary qualities and powers that Almighty Allah has availed to them is a fact that has been proven through various Ahaadith.

Hafiz Suyooti (RA) has written a complete treatise regarding this topic in which he mentions, “There are several narrations regarding them. Among those are the narrations of: 1) Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattaab, 2) Sayyiduna Ali, 3) Sayyiduna Hudhayfa, 4) Sayyiduna Anas, 5) Sayyiduna Ubaadah ibn Saamit, 6) Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas, 7) Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar, 8) Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, 9) Sayyiduna Awf ibn Maalik, 10) Sayyiduna Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, 11) Sayyiduna Waathila ibn al-Asqaa, 12) Sayyiduna Abu-Sa’eed al-Khudriy, 13) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra, 14) Sayyiduna Abud-Dardaa, 15) Sayyidatuna Umm Salmah (Radhiallaahu Anhum ajma’ee) and many others which are impossible to be enumerated.” (al-Khabaru Daal vol.2 pg.455 of al-Haawi)

In fact, Hafiz Suyooti (RA) and others have accepted that the narrations concerning the Abdaal have reached the status of Tawaatur (highest form of authenticity). (refer Nazmul Mutanaathir minal hadithil mutaawatir pgs.231-232)

Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) and others have also accepted the authenticity of some of the narrations in which the Abdaal are mentioned.

From the abovementioned narrations, the Hadith of Sayyiduna Anas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) has been classified as Hasan (sound) by Haafiz al-Haythami, the Hadith of Sayyiduna Ubaadah ibn Saamit (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and the Hadith of Sayyiduna ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) has been classified as Sahih (authentic) by Haafiz ibn Arraaq (RA), the Hadith of Awf ibn Maalik (Radhiallaahu Anhu) has been classified as Hasan (sound) by Hafiz ibn Arraaq. (Tanzihus-Sharee’ah vol.2 pg.307) and the Hadith of Sayyiduna Ali is Hasan (sound) according to Allaamah Suyuti (RA). (Al-la’aaliy vol.2 pg.332) and Hafiz Sakhaawi (RA) has regarded all its narrators as reliable. (al-Maqaasidul Hasanah pg.28)

The following is a list of some of those illustrious Ulama and Muhadditheen that were regarded to be Abdaals, by the scholars of the classical times:

1) Imaam Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abi Haatim (Muqaddamah ibnus-salaah pg.421),

2) Imaam Abu-Muslim al-Khawlaaniy (Al-Jaami of Khaatib Baghdadi pg.382),
3) Imaam Shaafi’ee (Al-Maqaasidul Hasanah pg.28 and Taarikh Dimishq),

4) Yazeed ibn al-Aswad (Taarikh Dimishq vol.6 pg.112),

5) Imaam Jaabir ibn Marzooq (al-Aadaab of Imaam Bayhaqi pg.326 – Hadith985),

6) al-Qa’anabiy,

7) Hammaad ibn Salamah (Tahzeeb of Haafiz ibn Hajar vol.3 pg.13; Hadith1767),

8) Abdullah ibn Mubaarak (Tahzeeb of ibn Hajar)

From the above mentioned facts, it is apparent that the existence of Abdaals are authentically proven by various illustrious Ulama, let alone in the numerous Ahaadith.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions


© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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